21. The Original Movie – Tony Sarg

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SUMMARY: A look at the earliest example of movie making by the Stonehenge Film Company.

WHY IT’S HERE: The majority of German-American puppeteer and illustrator Tony Sarg’s animation work is now considered lost. The few films that survive are notable works that nevertheless feel a tad confused in their narratives. By far the best is ‘The Original Movie’, an occasionally baffling but often amusing rewriting of film history which depicts the first ever film created by the Stonehenge Film Company, a rag-tag group of oddballs and a goat. Although this satire on the film industry, in particular its treatment of writers, is a little jumbled it’s still remarkable to see such a satire so early in the development of film as a medium. Sarg’s silhouette puppets are amusing but far less expressive than Lotte Reiniger’s work in the same style but his final sequence in which the film’s screenwriter is shown the finished film of his script provides a memorable sting in the tail.

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